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Ste.Anne’s Spa Getaway Trip

Hey guys! I was given the opportunity to check out the day spa at Ste.Anne’s Spa in Grafton, Ontario. And it was INCREDIBLE! The stunning grounds, the castle like facility, the yoga studio, the relaxing nooks all over the place to just lounge and hang out or read a novel ….I haven’t relaxed like that in a LONG time! So I made it a girls day and took my sister along with me! And what a great time we had! I felt like I was in Europe but the great thing was that I was only 2 hours from home.

Check in/Tour

We arrived at Ste.Anne’s spa at 10 am after an almost two hour car ride (we took the 407 from Milton..if we didn’t it would’ve taken longer) but I’m not complaining because it gave my sister and I a chance to catch up…it’s incredible how little adult conversation one can have once there are kids in the picture-and between the both of us we have 5 kids, alhumdullilah. Anyways, we proceeded to check in where we filled out some forms and received our spa robes to use for the day. We were given a tour and I was thoroughly impressed by the facilities and the beautiful grounds. There were areas to relax strategically placed all over the spa, like the complimentary massage chair room, the quiet room and the hammocks and lounging chairs outdoors. One thing that caught me off guard though, was that we were told that the owner’s two dogs roamed around freely outdoors, but not to worry because they are friendly. I’m not really a dog person, so I was a bit anxious hearing this news. Here are some photos from the tour.

 

 

Wellness Class: Yoga

We decided to start off the day with some yoga. We thought it would be a great way to stretch out after being in the car for so long. So glad we did! The hour long session was incredibly relaxing and I felt at ease. The yoga studio itself was beautiful and inviting and the instructor knowledgeable.

Ste.Anne’s Spa offers a variety of wellness classes. You can take a look at their schedule here.

R&R

 

 

We had some time before lunch, so we explored the grounds and we ended up relaxing on the hammocks and read our books.  But then the scariest thing happened. We were reading our novels and all of my sister said “Tabassum don’t make any sudden movements”. I immediately knew a dog was nearby. I peeked over my hammock and lo and behold a VERY big black dog was hanging around. I quickly ready Surah Fatiha and made duaa (prayer) of protection LOL. The dog ran off and we remained in our hammocks for two minutes. Then I was like “you wanna go inside now?” to which my sister thankfully answered “yes lets go.”

I would’ve liked to enjoy being outdoors more in my very honest opinion but I felt I couldn’t do that with the dogs roaming free. I also don’t think it’s fair to say that the dogs are ‘friendly’ and expect ALL guests of the spa to be okay with it. That is one thing I would request if I were to book at Ste.Anne’s Spa again. This aspect really took away from achieving total relaxation at the spa for myself.

Dining: Lunch

We then headed off to lunch and it was a tasty and pleasant experience. Here are some photos and captions of each. My favourite part was dessert-creme brûlée with a side of coconut ice cream…yum!!!!!! The portion sizes were perfect and the meal was healthy and wholesome from start to finish.

Iced Coffee

 

SMOKED ALMON QUICHE pickled red onion, blistered tomato arugula with a citrus aioli

 

CUCUMBER WRAPPED GREENS (Ve) (GF) mixed greens, frisée, candied pecans, heirloom tomatoes, edible flowers, and purple grapes wrapped in a cucumber with an orange blossom vinaigrette

 

CHIPOTLE MUSHROOM BURGER (V) sweet toasted pecans, savoury mushrooms, with a base of lentils, chickpeas, and chipotle — topped with lettuce, tomato, and onions, with a spicy chipotle cashew ranch on a brioche bun

 

STRAWBERRY BRUSCHETTA SALAD (V) (GF) spinach, berries and radicchio with citrus dressing, served with a grilled focaccia, baco noir jam, ontario fior di latte, candied almonds and fresh chives

 

STE. ANNE’S TRATTORIA featured pasta dishes showcasing best of season vegetables, sauces and fresh herbs

 

Creme Brûlée with a side of vegan coconut ice cream

 

More R&R

This is the novel I took along with me. I am still not done it, it’s a heavy read.

After lunch we headed back outside to lounge and read. I just couldn’t relax though, knowing that two dogs could bolt over to me at anytime. Within 5 minutes of being outside my sister was already sleeping. SO I had two options, I could leave her asleep there and head inside OR I could tell her I’m heading in to the quiet lounge. I chose the latter  and she came inside with me saying that the point of the day was to relax and if I couldn’t do that outside we would both go in. We read and relaxed in the quiet room indoors for a while before our massage chair appointment.

 

 

 

Complimentary Massage Chairs

We booked our massage chair appointment a bit after lunch. They have quite a few so they rarely book up completely, we were told. The massage chairs were a bit intense to begin with but once I got the settings to my liking, it was fabulous! This was a nice option to have as my spa service was a body wrap and not a massage.

Spa Service: Rose Petal and Honey Body Wrap

Shortly after this, we headed of to the wait for our spa service. We both chose the Rose Petal and Honey Body Wrap .  

The esthetician explained that the honey and the rose petals that were used in this treatment were harvested from the Ste.Anne’s Spa grounds! I absolutely loved this touch. It made the whole experience unique. It was a rejuvenating experience and I came out of this treatment selling delicious and my skin was thoroughly quenched. I highly recommend this service if you go!

Afternoon Tea

Once we were done the treatments, we headed off to afternoon tea. We enjoyed the gluten free sampler and they accommodated our vegetarian dietary needs. Below are some photos. I had the delectable dark chocolate matcha drink and my sister had a green tea as accompaniment to our menu selection. My favourite item was the raspberry macaron but I enjoyed the entire selection. I do prefer a more traditional afternoon tea and I think because we chose the gluten free option, the scones for example were a bit dense for my liking. I would love to try out the other afternoon tea options next time 🙂 Overall, a great way to end the day!

SANDWICH PLATE (GF) • mushroom duxelle with savoury jam • carrot and sesame filled mushroom • cucumber and dill cream cheese sandwich

 

CHEESE & CRACKERS (V) (GF) • duo of cheeses • five seed crostini • fresh fruit • best of season crudité

 

SWEETS (Ve) (GF) • seasonal almond macaron • sesame butter cookie • walnut cocoa truffle • freshly baked blueberry scone

 

Conclusion

We headed back to the Women’s only locker room, changed out of our robes and deposited them back at reception. We then headed out to the front and took some photos and the view was stunning. Here are some photos. We then headed home from our very relaxing day.

 

Thank you Ste.Anne’s Spa for having us, it was a much needed relaxing and rejuvenating experience. This was actually the first time I have been away from my kids for almost an entire day in over 3.5 years, so it was much needed!! I am so glad to have been given this opportunity to explore this beautiful spa and venue and I highly recommend it as a mini getaway for yourself, you and your significant other or for a girls getaway. The staff was friendly and lovely and the best part is that it’s like being in another part of the world, except it was just north of Toronto! This hidden gem in the heart of Ontario has now been checked off of my bucket list!

 

Here are some Q&A’s that I was asked about Ste. Anne’s Spa:

 

Is Ste. Anne’s Spa Ladies only?

No. There are some male staff working there so we were in our hijabs the entire time. Also, men are welcome to attend the spa as well. I made sure to specifically request female staff for our body therapy sessions, which they accommodated.

Does Ste.Anne’s have halal options?

No. But they do have a lot of vegetarian and seafood options which are delicious.  The food is noticeably fresh and simple, which is nice because after lunch we had sessions booked so you don’t want to overstuff yourself!

Was there a women’s only section?

The women’s locker room is the only female only area. There was a hot tub in here which we dipped into for a bit. That was enjoyable and allowed us to go hijab free.

Is this a good place for a couples getaway OR a a girls trip?

Yes to both! It’s also a great getaway for moms to be.

What is the cost of going to Ste. Anne’s Spa?

It depends on which package you select. The website lists rates for each package. Click here to find out more.

 

xoxo,

Tabassum

*Sponsored by Ste. Anne’s Spa. All views and opinions are my own however.*

 

 

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Dairy Free Iced Coffee

Summer is here…and so is Iced Coffee!

Hey/salaams! So I took some much needed time off after Eid as I was feeling a bit burnt out (ummm hi I wrote two e-cookbooks in less than a month!) but I’m back now!

I love summer and I love coffee. I just don’t like drinking hot coffee on a hot summers day though….cuz hello I’ll be a sweat ball LOL.

SO! I’ve been experimenting with iced coffee and guys- I love it!!! So easy to make and super delicious!

Dairy Free Iced Coffee!

I have recently started reducing the amount of dairy that I consume and I am just loving coconut milk and/or sweetened condensed coconut milk.  So yum.

Here’s the recipe:
1 cup freshly brewed coffee (I used my Nespresso machine to brew my usual coffee but you can use any coffee- even instant!)
2 tbsp sweetened condensed coconut milk
Handful of iceMethod:
1. Brew your coffee and place in fridge to chill. I brew mine and chill overnight.
2. Add in the condensed coconut milk
3. Mix together and add in ice.
4. Enjoy your iced coffee on a hot summers day :)Notes:
-any dairy can be used but you may need to add sugar
– sweetened condensed coconut milk is sweet so no need to add additional sugar
-the coconut milk gives this coffee a hint of coconut flavor which I love!
-I have also tried this with leftover condensed milk and it was incredible…however the calories in it increase with the additional sugar. Definitely worth trying !

Happy to help.

Let me know if you try out this recipe and which milk you chose to use! I usually reply to emails within 24 hours 🙂

xoxo

Tabassum

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‘Tis the summer of Ontario Beaches!

 

If you’re keeping up with my insta stories, you know that my family is travelling across Ontario this summer to the best beaches this province has to offer this! And boy, are the beaches stunning! I was born and raised in Ontario and I had no idea these beaches existed so close to home. We are determined to expose our children to all kinds of outdoors experiences-we started with hiking and now we are on to beach getaways! Here is a list of the beaches we have been to so far this summer and some of my observations about them:

Crystal Beach

https://www.visitniagaracanada.com/do/crystal-beach/

  • Sandy beach, comfortable to walk on and the kids can sit and make sand castles happily
  • Shallow water for a good while before it gets deep
  • Baby friendly beach
  • Family friendly beach
  • No beach amenities. Amenities like washrooms and food are across the street at the shops.
  • Beach is a decent size but note that half the beach is for the private residences which is not open to the public (there’s a barrier). Seems like wasted beach to me as no one was on it when we were there!
  • Parking is about a three minute walk from the beach – street parking and paid beach lots
  • Don’t recommend bringing strollers- no paved walkway to beach and it is very hard getting the stroller though all of the sand!

Grand Bend Beach

https://www.ontariossouthwest.com/ways-to-play/beaches/grand-bend/

  • Beach has lots of gravel mixed in with sand, very uncomfortable to walk on and kids can’t sit and play by the water because of this 🙁
  • Deep water from the start
  • Amenities are great- washrooms, outdoor rinsing stations, food, parasailing etc.
  • Family beach
  • Life guards on duty
  • Paid beach parking about a two minute walk from beach
  • I don’t recommend this beach for families like mine with young children. The beach is too gravelly and with the water being so deep I was constantly on edge as soon as my son attempted to run in

Long Point Beach

https://www.norfolktourism.ca/long-point/

  • Sandy beach, comfortable to walk on and the kids can sit and make sand castles happily
  • Shallow water for a good while before it gets deep
  • Baby friendly beach
  • Family friendly beach
  • Beach amenities include washrooms
  • Parking is about a three minute walk from the beach – Long Point Provincial parking was $14 for the day pass
  • Can bring strollers- no paved walkway to beach just a mesh piece they’ve put on the sand which actually helps to get strollers across the sand!
  • Beach is massive approx 40km long!
  • My favourite Ontario beach (so far!)

Lake Kelso

http://www.conservationhalton.ca/park-details?park=kelso

  • Sand is a mix of fine sand and gravel but it’s comfortable to walk on and suitable for kids to sit and make sand castles
  • Shallow water for a good while before it gets deep
  • Baby friendly beach
  • Family friendly beach
  • Beach amenities include washrooms, concession stands, feet washing stations
  • Beach is about a 10 minute walk from the parking lot. Downhill if you have a stroller (but scary with a double !) and steep stairs to go down for everyone else
  • Beach is big
  • This is less than 10 minutes away from my house so it’s local and super convenient for us!

Wasaga Beach- Beach #1

https://www.ontarioparks.com/park/wasagabeach

  • Sandy beach, comfortable to walk on and for the kids to sit and make sand castles
  • Longest freshwater beach in the world!
  • Shallow water for a good while before it gets deep
  • Baby friendly beach
  • Family friendly beach
  • Easy accessible amenities- bathrooms, lots of variety of food, etc
  • Parking is about a five minute walk from the beach – paid beach lots about $20 for the day pass
  • Beach #1 at Wasaga is very busy and has always been busy every time we go. Most likely due to all of the restaurants being in this area. Here is a great breakdown of the different beach areas Wasaga has to offer: https://www.wasaga.com/beach-areas

 

I hope this list of Ontario beaches has been helpful! I will keep updating the list as we continue to explore. Stay tuned for my beach-must-haves blog post coming soon!

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How to Keep Your Bathroom Organized and Clean

Disclosure: I have partnered with Kitchen Stuff Plus and have received compensation for this post. All opinions are my own.

I just love a clean and organized home, clutter free leads to being stress free and it’s more enjoyable living life! Don’t you agree? With spring just around the corner, I am tackling my organization and cleaning projects around the home now! I am starting with my master bathroom and sharing tips in hopes you get inspired to do the same!

Tips to achieving an organized and clean bathroom:

De-cluttter first, then organize

Go through all of your bathroom cabinets and drawers and de-clutter everything. If you haven’t used the item in over a month, question why you’re hanging on to it! For example, I had multiple mascaras (some even dried out…whoops!) which I ended up tossing out! Not sure why I was hanging on to those! I also had lots of items in packaging that were taking up precious space! So, just like in my kitchen organization project, I took everything out of the packaging and used these bath canisters to store them in. Once you’ve de-cluttered you can get organizing (the FUN part!!)

Daily Maintenance

Keep all of your counter space and surfaces clear of clutter. This makes it very easy to quickly do a daily wipe down of the surfaces. Let’s be real, dust collects really fast and keeping a washroom clean can be hard work. But if you upkeep your daily maintenance, the dreaded weekly cleaning of the house, doesn’t seem so dreadful! My tip is to have cleaning supplies handy (mines are in our upstairs laundry room high up in the shelves so my baby’s can’t reach them!) and set a routine: wipe down counters/sink, followed by the dreaded toilet and then bathtub, followed by cleaning the mirror(s).

Glass Shower Organization and Maintenance

This leads into the next section of the washroom, the dreaded glass shower. Anyone else avoid cleaning their glass shower because it takes forever and is just way too labour intensive!? I used too, in fact, I even delegated this task to my husband. But once a month cleaning was not enough for me as the water stains/build up was getting to be too much, I needed a better solution. Enter the OXO Good Grip Bath Flexible Squeegee . Having easy access to this tool (it hangs up on a removable suction sup holder right on your tile walls in the shower) has changed my life. No, really I’m serious! Once the shower is done, you take the squeegee and wipe down all the glass….leaving a streak free, shiny and sparking glass shower! And it literally takes less than two minutes to achieve this!

An organization tip I have for the shower is to use a shower caddy. This will give your shower a clean look and keep your essentials handy and off of the bottom ledge for easy cleaning. We use this one by Inter Design and I love it. It looks wonderful in my sleek shower and all of my shower time goodies fit on it. Putting this shower caddy up was simple and will not damage your tiles as it uses suction cups to stay up. It’s also very strong so it can hold numerous items.

Daily essentials

Lately I have been slacking in my skin care routine because as a mom of a two and one year old, I am way too exhausted by the time night comes around and I end up washing my face with whatever is closest to the sink….hand soap *gasp*. I know, this is just horrible for my skin, stripping my skin of all of it’s natural oils.  So I thought what better way to address this than in my bathroom organization project.  I now have this clear 3-drawer organizer with my face wash, toner, face masks etc in it. Along with a drawer for my dental care items in the next drawer. Followed by some more toiletries in the last drawer. I have left this out on my counter right next to the sink for now, but once I get into the routine of using my items (rather than hand soap to wash my face!) I can easily tuck this into my cabinet for easy access.

I also use this InterDesign power lock spin toothbrush holder because if you haven’t guessed it yet, the less I have on the counters, the happier I am!! This fits both my toothbrush and toothpaste.

Spruce up your bath mats

An easy update to any bathroom is upgrading your bat mats. Bath mats come in many colours and varieties to suit your style. I personally love the Harman spa loop microfibre mats I have! The slate colour matches my bathroom perfectly and these are the plushest bath mats we’ve had! They also help prevent slipping on the cold wet tiles of the bathroom, especially after a shower!

Add a touch of artwork to your bathroom

This will really help pull everything together and give your bathroom a finished look. Try to keep the colour palette similar throughout the room to maintain harmony. I chose something to get me motivated right from the morning. because as a mom of young ones, I need all the motivation I can get!!!

 

My master bathroom is now my dream bathroom…and we didn’t even have to do any renovations to it! I’ll let you in on a secret: we haven’t even painted our master bathroom since we bought the house five years ago. I know right?! You would’ve never known! But with the lovely touches mentioned in this blog, a little effort and the right products, go a long way!! I hope you are inspired to get your spring cleaning on!

-Tabassum xoxo

Once your bathroom is clean treat yourself to some bath bombs and enjoy your fresh and clean new space!

 

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6 Baby Bath Time Tips

Disclosure: I have partnered with Kitchen Stuff Plus and have received compensation for this post. All opinions are my own.

Does bath time with the kids leave you completely soaked? Have you put the babes in the bath only to realize you forgot some bath time essentials? Is your bathroom full of baby bath toys? Been there…done that!

After having two babies in two years (YES, you read that correctly!) I have mastered the art of giving a baby a bath. It wasn’t always sunshine and rainbows though and I have learned from many bath time mistakes. I have implemented these 6 bath time tips which have made our bath time routine at home so much better! I have grown to love giving both of my babies a bath, filled with lots of giggles (perfect way to unwind and get ready for bed!).

Here are the 6 tips for any mom out there struggling to get through baby bath time!

1. Invest in the Memory Foam Bathmat (Your knees will thank you!)

All that kneeling down while giving your baby a bath can get rough on your knees. This is where a good quality memory foam bathmat comes in. Not only does this Harman Supreme Large Microfiber Memory Foam Bathmat look great while matching my decor but my knees are spared!  A definite win for this mama!

2. Use a Bath Tub Mat

My kids love bubble baths…but that can get really slippery in the tub.  That’s why I use the Splash Softee Foam Bath Tub Mat ! This non-slip mat features suction cups underneath to keep it in place. Having this mat in the tub is an essential tool to keep your baby safe during bath time!

3. Storage for Baby Bath Time Toys

Every baby loves playing with toys in the bath and every mom hates walking into the bathroom and stepping on these said toys….ouch! The solution is to have some storage right in the bathtub so once bath time is over, you can rinse the toys and place them in the basket. The InterDesign Powerlock Corner Basket is what I use and it has become a life saver! There a lot of baby bath storage items on the market but they’re so colourful and just don’t go with my bathroom decor! This is why I love this clear corner basket! It also features strong suction cups that won’t ruin your bathtub tiles!

4. Keep a Laundry Hamper Handy

I don’t know about you but before I started doing this I used to have my babies clothes on my bathroom floor for days before I got around to picking them up…eww, I know! Bath time just gets so busy once you pick up the little one from the tub; you have to haul them to their room, dry them off and get them ready for bed!  Anyways, my solution is to keep the laundry hamper right in the washroom to make my life easier and my bathroom tidier! This laundry basket is stylish, durable and easy to carry to the laundry room! A bathroom must have!

5. Gather Baby Bath Time Items BEFORE you Run the Bath

This tip is really important. A little pre-planning and organization before the bath starts is so essential. This is because once your baby is in the tub, you cannot leave them alone…even for a second! Keep your baby safe please! Anyways, the solution is to gather all the items you need – towel, lotion, comb, wash cloths, hair dryer (I use a travel hairdryer for my kids!), nail clippers and so on before you start. I use this handy  Made Smart Bath Tidy Soft Grip Tote to gather all of the items before hand – and it fits perfectly under the sink when not in use!

6. Invest in a Bath Towel Apron for Yourself

After giving many, many baths to my first baby and always being completely soaked afterwards, my lovely friend gifted me a towel apron that protected me from all of the splishing and splashing that comes along with bath time! This was a total life changer! I no longer have to do outfit changes after bathing my kids! It’s basically an apron made from towel material so it’s super absorbent and comfortable! Definitely something every mom with young children should have!

These 6 tips have really changed bath time for me and my kids; think less stress and more fun and bonding time with your little ones! Good luck mamas!

-Tabassum